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Can Dogs Really Make People Happier?

October 29, 2021

dogs make humans happier

Mornings get incredibly better when someone is waking you up instead of an alarm clock. Wet nose, warm breath, a pair of beady eyes - yes, you guessed it right: your dog. Our dogs are more than just cuddly companions; they bring real emotional and physical benefits to their fur parents too.

Dogs can significantly lower stress levels, and they are considered one of the reasons why there is a significant decrease in asthma attacks in kids. They can also decrease the risk of high blood pressure in their owners. Dogs also help their owners exercise more. According to research, dog owners who take their dog for a regular walking schedule are more physically active than non-dog owners. They take more than 2,760 steps a day compared to a normal non-dog owner.  

What are the reasons why dogs can make people happier?

Dogs improve our mood.

According to countless studies, dogs can significantly help their owners be constant positive thinkers, maintaining a good outlook on life, despite unwanted or adverse circumstances. Thus, dog owners have fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. 

Dogs make us feel validated and unconditionally loved.

Whenever we do cuddle sessions with our dogs, or just by simply lying down together with them, it increases our happy hormones known as Oxytocin. This is a chemical in our body that is activated when we feel loved. Oxytocin calms our nervous system down, relaxes our muscles, thus increasing our vulnerability and trust. Moreover, 85 percent of dog parents revealed that their dogs "helped them recover through a difficult time" in their lives. 

Dogs make our stress levels lower.

According to the University of New York studies, dogs can lower our cortisol levels, the hormone responsible for us feeling stressed. Pet owners are said to tolerate high-stress levels when faced with a challenging assignment when their pets are with them. More studies agree that owning a dog not only lowers your stress but also improves your recovery and resilience. 

Dogs increase your self-esteem.

Pet owners exhibit greater self-esteem and become more socially open to other people than non-owners. It turns out that dogs help their introvert owners socialize more during walks. It is easier to converse with another dog owner, and it helps people relax and talk. Thus, dogs inspire us to go outside more and be active, which increases our mental wellbeing over time.

Dogs make us more healthy.

Physical exercise produces a chemical in the body called endorphin. This is the chemical responsible for making us happy. Walking our dogs regularly or spending time with them outside and playing together will increase our endorphins and make us more content with our lives. 

According to Andy Jones, a UEA professor, "We were amazed to find that dog walkers were on average more physically active and spent less time sitting on the coldest, wettest, and darkest days than non-dog owners were on long, sunny, and warm summer days." This is a clear indication that pets motivate people and stay active for longer periods of time.